The Future of Architecture

[caption id="attachment_27079" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Photo: Tom Bonaventure/Getty Images"][/caption]Hannah Devlin has a neat piece up at Times Online about the continuing shift in architecture towards biological and chemical ideologies.  "Likening the city to an organism," scientists are hatching amazing ideas like using fish bacteria to illuminate nocturnal skylines.

There's also speculation about recreating processes like limestone formation -which usually takes nature thousands of years- that eats carbon from the air.
Nanoarchitects are aiming to speed the process up to a matter of days. They believe it could be done simply by coating the walls of buildings with tiny droplets of engine grease. The grease would be laced with a common salt such as magnesium chloride. When the magnesium reacts with carbon dioxide in the air, a solid magnesium carbonate pearl begins to form.

This serves as the seed for the growth of white, wheatsheaf-shaped carbonate crystals. The large surface area of a droplet of grease maximises the interface between the magnesium and the atmospheric carbon, speeding up the rate of the reaction. Within days, the grease would be transformed into a sparkly crystalline coating similar in appearance to heavy frost or snowfall... A green city...would look like Narnia under the White Witch, crystal white and beautiful. The carbon choking our planet could become a harmless decorative feature.


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yafortier - curiously, why do you like it? The item I am referring to is the molecule like tower that has a ball and stick structure. It's obviously cast concrete and its structure doesn't really serve a purpose except to look different. It takes up space and visually affronts the form follows function approach.

In the Shanghai of last year, I'm sure the skyline is more developed then when you were there in 2004. Building is going on at an insane rate. But what really confused me is that many of the new buildings have hats or structures on the top that look like headgear. It's completely weird.
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@zavatone God I disagree with you. I've been to Shanghai in 2004 and, allthough it has changed a lot since then, I have fond memories of it's skyline and energy.

Pudong is the perfect sci-fi city. It doesn't mean it should be replicated everywhere, but Montreal could use some of that...
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Magnesium (to make magnesium chloride) comes from dolomite, the principle ore of magnesium. It's chemical formula is CaMg(CO3)2. That's calcium magnesium carbonate. This is then treated with an acid solution to separate out the metals. In the process the carbonate rock releases carbon dioxide. So any carbon dioxide that could possibly be absorbed by the magnesium was already released by the production of the magnesium.

Someone also made the claim that they could use lime (calcium oxide) to absorb massive amounts of CO2 to form limestone (calcium carbonate). Then someone pointed out the obvious. To produce lime, you heat limestone.
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